I am still not sure how I feel about The Maze Runner. I had made a point to read the book before the movie was released…not sure if that was a good idea. I love YA and not ashamed to admit it. Most YA tends to be centered and directed around girls (teens mostly) so The Maze Runner is a new beast to test the market.
My problems with the book/adaptation were not problems in the movie, at all, but I think the confusion is what caused my issues. I spent the first quarter of the movie literally trying to decipher the changes (pretty major ones) and realize what was going on. Overall, I think it was a disservice that I had read the book and so fresh on my mind. I found it difficult to get into the book because it really drags in the beginning with so much exposition and establishing the environment. This was definitely not a problem for the film; it began quickly and was action packed within 15 minutes. This movie is almost like a young Indiana Jones style of action and problem solving.
The cast of The Maze Runner really sells the experience and capitalizes the action. Dealing with so many young actors can usually command stiff and over the top performances. This cast was on point, not stereotypes, and three dimensional. Dylan O’Brien is the perfect leader and is amazingly funny, sincere, and charming (check out Teen Wolf). Blake Cooper is adorable as Chuck, and Will Poulter is an unlikely villain. Kaya Scodelario holds her own against the boys, but I think she could have been more engaging at times and scared of the situation. A surprise for me was the incredible Patricia Clarkson cameos as a doctor that seems to be an important role in the sequels.
Grievers are the robot bug creatures chasing after the boys and protecting the maze. The grievers aren’t quite how I imagined them—more alien like and less robotic. The creatures are definitely scary, but I wanted their anatomy and mass more detailed and shown. They didn’t get as much screen time as you would think compared to the book. Overall, I was slightly underwhelmed by the grievers and how WICKED was perceived.
Aside from my confusion, The Maze Runner was fun and a nonstop thriller. The acting was great, the effects were pretty good, and the action was on point. I would recommend not reading the book right before going to see the movie. I am ready for the sequel though. Considering the amount of action and special effects in the movie, I am shocked the sequel—The Scorch Trials—will be ready for release on September 18, 2015.
It seems crazy that entire movie of this scale can be filmed, edited, and released in less than a year, but it keeps the series fresh. The Maze Runner is a great YA turn for a male audience but it’s no Hunger Games. If anything great comes out of The Maze Runner, I hope it’s the success and notice for Dylan O’Brien.
By Kasey Michael--a lover of all things entertainment. Born and bred in North Carolina, she can usually be found in front of a screen.